Covid-19 pandemic timeline - January 2021

Susan Ramsay
  • Indonesia chooses to vaccinate working people first
  • UK scientists worried vaccines may not work on South African coronavirus variant
Susan Ramsay |

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Russian lawmakers give LGBTQ ‘propaganda’ bill final approval

  • The US gets a new president

  • Variants raise vaccine concerns

Here’s the latest:

2019 - January February March April May June July August September October November December

Feb 18

South Africa has registered more than 140,000 excess natural deaths since May 2020, according to the South African Medical Research Council. Leading private medical insurance Discovery estimates that around 90 percent of those fatalities are attributable to Covid-19, pushing the real death toll past 120,000. A study released last week of almost 5,000 blood donors across four provinces found that between 32 and 63 percent of sampled individuals had contracted coronavirus since the pandemic started -- compared with clinically confirmed case rates of two to three per cent. Most antibodies were detected in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, both epicentres of South Africa’s second infection wave when it started in December, one month before the study was conducted.

As of 7.30 pm,110,496,412 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 85,391,493and 2,442,662 people have died.

Feb 17

Pfizer says South African variant could significantly reduce vaccine protection, researchers urge governments to delay second dose

As of midnight GMT, 110,418,817 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 85,322,617 and 2,439,912 people have died.

A commercially available electronic “nose” manufactured by Dutch company Breathomix can tell when a person does not have COVID-19 and would be a useful screening tool, researchers have found.

Brazil recorded 56,766 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 1,150 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said

Sinovac vaccine works on UK, South African variants - Brazil institute says, citing studies in China. “We have tested this vaccine in China against the English and the South African variants, with good results,” said Dimas Covas, head of the Butantan biomedical center in Sao Paulo which lead domestic trials of the Chinese vaccine and is supplying doses to Brazil’s Health Ministry

United States

  • Crippling icy weather hampers vaccine deliveries, distribution in US
  • The United States will pay more than $200 million to the World Health Organization by the end of the month after reversing Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw, Secretary of State Antony Blinken

  • The statistics show that an average of 1.7 million Americans received a shot each day last week, after a steady climb since the middle of January in which the average number of daily inoculations increased 200,000 each week.

Feb 16

India's dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped. Infections began to plummet in September, and now the country is reporting about 11,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000. They have suggested many possible explanations for the sudden drop — seen in almost every region — including that some areas of the country may have reached herd immunity or that Indians may have some preexisting protection from the virus. The Indian government has also partly attributed the dip in cases to mask-wearing, which is mandatory in public in India and violations draw hefty fines in some cities. But experts have noted the situation is more complicated since the decline is uniform even though mask compliance is flagging in some areas.

Amid a scandal, Peru says 487 officials were vaccinated secretly, ahead of the public.

First 550,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm's vaccine arrive in Hungary

Hong Kong advisory panel approves China's Sinovac vaccine for emergency use. Hong Kong’s government said in early February that it was exempting Chinese drug maker Sinovac from publishing results of its third phase clinical trials in medical journals due to the “urgency” for vaccination. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – the first approved by Hong Kong’s Health department - was required to have published results in a medical journal before being examined by the advisory panel. 

As of 7.30 pm,109,744,108 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 84,306,543 and 2,420,505 people have died.

The US crosses 500,000 Covid deaths

Feb 15

Thailand finds South African COVID-19 variant in quarantine.

‘We should have provided more information faster’: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledges data void in NY nursing home deaths. “No excuses: I accept responsibility for that. I am in charge. I take responsibility. We should have provided more information faster.” “The void in information that we created started misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and now people have to hear that, and they don’t know what is the truth,” Cuomo said. “The truth is you had the best medical professionals and advice on the globe. The truth is it was in the middle of a terrible pandemic. The truth is COVID attacks senior citizens. The truth is, with all we know, people still die in nursing homes.”

Guinea Ebola death toll rises to five

Zimbabwe gets its first batch of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, the first country in southern Africa to receive it.

As of 8.30 pm,109,448,208 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 81,545,097 and 2,412,815 people have died.

Feb 14

Guinea sees first Ebola outbreak since 2016 epidemic declared over

Tens of thousands protest in Myanmar against coup

Britain meets self-imposed target of 15 million vaccinations

As of midnight GMT,109,382,551 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 81,617,794 and 2,411,067 people have died.

Feb 13

As of midnight GMT,109,091,004 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 81,271,588 and 2,404,174 people have died.

Feb 12

More than 9,000 recovering virus patients were sent into NY nursing homes early in the pandemic under a controversial order that was scrapped amid criticisms it accelerated outbreaks, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press. The new number of patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what had been previously released by the state health department. And it raises new questions as to whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 25 directive helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge his administration disputes.

Feb 11

The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Britain has fallen from record levels but still remains high, with conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic playing a role, a Jewish advisory body says.

African countries without the coronavirus variant dominant in South Africa should go ahead and use the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

In UK, roving teams bring COVID-19 vaccine shots to homeless

A second person has died of Ebola in the DRC, Who announces

Feb 10

Six months after being asked, New York's top health official answers questions of elderly home Covid deaths. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker's showed that 15,049 residents had died of Covid. Officially, the state had reported that fewer than 9,000 care home residents had died of Covid, but that number did not include those who had died after being admitted to hospital. Those admitted to hospital would have been counted on the general deaths tally.

Seoul offers free Covid-19 testing for cats and dogs

Before Lunar New Year, Vietnam's streets blossom with flowers

Vienna misses its waltzes as ball season falls silent

Almost one in three children in Germany are suffering from mental health problems less than a year into the coronavirus crisis, according to the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf's COPSY study

Taiwan to receive 5 million Moderna shots in second quarter

First cases of South African coronavirus strain found in California

Feb 9

As of 7.30 pm,107,074,258 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 78,953,376 and 2,338,203 people have died.

3,000 pigs to be culled after African swine fever found at Hong Kong farm

Feb 8

As of midnight,106,998,175 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 78,990,655 and 2,335,732 people have died.

Feb 7

As of midnight,106,678,791 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 78,536,609 and 2,327,488 people have died.

Feb 6

Riots break out in St Louis prison, in the US state of Missouri, as inmates protest lack of Covid protection.

Feb 5

Feb 4

Pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson requests emergency authourisation for Covid vaccine

US FDA gears up for rapid review of potential COVID-19 booster shots

Pandemic pet demand blamed for surge in Britain's  dog thefts

Desperation grows as Mexico runs out of vaccines

Feb 3

With China's help, Serbia overtakes EU in vaccine rollout

Feb 2

As of 6 pm,103,969,901 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 75,817,103 and 2,248,872 people have died.

Feb 1

Britain has now administered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to more than 9.2 million people, Health Minister Matt Hancock announces

Cardiologist Professor Martin Halle from the Technical University of Munich. warns that even people who have had a very mild case of Covid-19 should not go back to 

As of midnight,103,921,820 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 75,727,220 and 2,247,108 people have died.

Chinese police have arrested more than 80 people who were making counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines. The gang had been putting saline water into vials and selling them as Covid-19 vaccines in an operation that had been running since last September. Police swooped on several locations across Beijing and multiple cities in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong, seizing “more than 3,000 fake Covid-19 vaccines on the spot,” Xinhua said.

Jan 31

As of midnight,103,921,820 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 2,237,848 and 2,237,848 people have died.

Philippines will receive US$25m in aid from Asia Bank to purchase Covid vaccines

Jan 30

As of 8 pm, 102,133,294 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 73,985,103 and 2,203,000 people have died

Hungary set for Chinese vaccine deal in further break with EU

A group of protesters disrupts operations at Dodger Stadium's mass Covid-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles 

Jan 28

As of midnight, 102,011,441 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 73,850,270 and 2,199,333 people have died.

Israel is shutting down its skies and borders starting today to battle the disease as it is one of the leading nations for vaccine coverage. and 2,199,333 people have died.

NY data show nursing home deaths undercounted by thousands

Who experts leave Wuhan quarantine to start virus probe

Cambodian scientists find close match for pathogen in samples collected in 2010

China's virus vigilance trashes travel plans for millions as trains and planes are cancelled and the government advises people to stay home for Lunar New Year

Jan 27

China has begun using anal swabs to test those it considers at high risk of contracting Covid-19, state TV reported, with social media users and travellers squirming over the invasive procedure which doctors say can be more effective in detecting the virus.

Daily virus deaths hit new record with 18,000 deaths as nations shut butders

A Chinese court has handed down a year-long prison sentence to a 37-year-old woman who hid her coronavirus symptoms before boarding a flight, state media reported

Overnight clashes in northern Lebanon between security forces and demonstrators angered by a coronavirus lockdown injured at least 45 people, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates says he has been taken aback by the volume of “crazy” and “evil” conspiracy theories about him spreading on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said on Wednesday he would like to explore what is behind them.

Relatives of Wuhan’s coronavirus dead on Wednesday said Chinese authorities have deleted their social media group and are pressuring them to keep quiet while a World Health Organization team is in the city to investigate the pandemic’s origins. Scores of relatives have banded together online in a shared quest for accountability from Wuhan officials who they blame for mishandling the outbreak that tore through the city one year ago. The effort has thus far been thwarted by official obstruction

Jan 26

As of 6 pm, 100,297,653 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 72,339,449 and 2,149,835 people have died.

The world passes 100,000,000 recorded infections

Britain's Covid-19 death toll first in Europe to top 100,000

India’s unusual vaccine problem: plenty of shots, but few takers

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa demands pleads for global solidarity in the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and warned against “vaccine nationalism.” at the World Economic Forum

Hong Kong government conducts unannounced lockdown at 7pm in Kowloon's Yau Ma Tei area after one at the weekend in the Yua Tsim Mong area that lasted 44 hours. Earlier, Chief Executive Carrie Lam had indicated that more tests would be carried out, blaming a leak of news about the two-day lockdown that gave some residents the chance to avoid testing. The Yau Ma Tei lockdown was due to be lifted at 6 am on Jan 27.

New Zealand’s borders are likely to remain closed for much of the year as health officials assess global vaccine rollouts, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warns

Tajikistan's leader Emomali Rakhmon says country has no virus but urges precautions

China's state media stokes concerns about Pfizer's vaccine with a government spokesperson raising the unsubstantiated theory that the virus could have come from a US lab. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus.

Thousands of Australians defy virus rules to protest 'Invasion Day'

Indonesia passes one million coronavirus cases

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reimposes a ban on children aged 10 to 14 leaving home, telling them to watch TV instead, as the country battles an outbreak of a new coronavirus strain.

Jan 25

As of 7 pm, 99,821,480 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 71,820,293  and 2,140,245 people have died.

In Mexico, three of the nation's most powerful men stricken by the virus. he son of  Carlos Slim, an 80-year-old telecommunications mogul and Mexico’s wealthiest man, reports that his father has been ill for the past week and is being treated in hospital. The other two are President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 67, a center-left populist known to his legions of fans as AMLO, who is self isolating, and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, a 78-year-old retired archbishop, who has been in intensive care since January 12. Mexico becomes the fourth nation to record more than 150,000 deaths in the world.

Israel closes skies in bid to keep out Covid-19 mutations

Hong Kong lifts lockdown in Kowloon district after testing 7,000 people

European Union

  • Netherlands sees another night of violent protests against curfew

United States

  • Case of highly infectious Covid-19 strain from Brazil detected in US state of Minnesota
  • Weeks after gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park contracted Covid-19, park officials say they will make a full recovery.

Clashes erupt between police and protesters in north Lebanon over the deteriorating economic situation and lockdown measures in the country

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his country has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 16 and over.

New Zealand’s first case of coronavirus in the community for more than two months has been identified as the South African variant and was likely contracted in hotel quarantine, health minister Chris Hipkins says

Jan 24

United States

  • Biden's top health nominee Xavier Becerra likens pandemic to 'plane in a nosedive'
  • California investigates death hours after vaccination;

  • US surpasses 25 million reported infections

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he announces on Twitter. This leaves three of the nation's most powerful men stricken by the virus. The other two are Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, a 78-year-old retired archbishop, who has been in intensive care since January 12 and Carlos Slim, an 80-year-old telecommunications mogul and Mexico’s wealthiest man,

Israel includes teens in vaccination drive, eyeing exams

New Zealand detects first community virus case in two months

Czech trainers teach dogs to sniff out Covid

Jan 23

South African coronavirus variant found in Panama and Cuba

Rioting youths protesting on the first night of a Dutch curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility and threw fireworks at police in a Dutch fishing village of Urk

Larry King, legendary talk-show host, dies at 87, after being admitted to hospital with Covid earlier in the month

British experts 'surprised' by PM Johnson's claim variant is deadlier

Jan 22

European Union

  • Germany's death toll in the coronavirus pandemic has soared to over 50,000, a new milestone condemned by the country's top disease control official Lothar Wieler of the Robert Koch Institute

As of 7 pm, 98,174,075 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 70,575,225 and 2,102,453 people have died.

Hong Kong to impose first Covid-19 lockdown on virus-hit district

'James Bond' stuntman Remy Julienne dies from coronavirus

Tokyo Olympics mark six-months-to-go amid uncertainty over virus


  • One year after lockdown, Wuhan clubbers hit the dancefloor
  • Asian stocks sink after China coronavirus resurgence

India begins commercial vaccine exports with the first consignments to be shipped to Brazil and Morocco

Coronavirus guidelines now the rule at White House

Brazilian singer MC Fioti, the first Brazilian to garner 1.5 billion views on YouTube, has re-cast  Bum Bum Tam Tam the tune from that video -- to try to go viral against Covid.. Brazil has lost approximately 213,000 lives to the coronavirus, a toll second only to the United States, and the music-maker is hoping the song will help push his nation’s people to get vaccinated.

The US National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of California, San Diego $1.3 million to develop a small, wearable sensor that can tell whether a person has the novel coronavirus or has been exposed to it by someone else. The lightweight sensor would be attached to face masks to monitor for the presence of coronavirus-related molecules that appear in a person’s breath and saliva.

Mongolia's Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa resigns after protests in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests erupted on Wednesday over what some Mongolians saw as the inhumane treatment of a COVID-19 patient and her newborn baby. Video footage showed the patient, still wearing her nightgown and slippers in freezing conditions, being relocated with her baby to a specialist quarantine facility run by Mongolia’s National Center of Communicable Diseases. The protests triggered the dismissal of senior health officials. Mongolia’s deputy prime minister and health minister also tendered their resignations. The news comes as Mongolia records its third virus-related death.

Jan 21

As of 7 pm, 97,388,047 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 69,948,500  and 2,085,519 people have died.

United States

  • Doctor Anthony Fauci is unleashed: Doc takes 'liberating' turn at center stage.  After enduring nearly a year of darts and undermining comments from former President Donald Trump, Fauci now speaks with the authority of the White House again. He called it “liberating” Thursday to be backed by a science-friendly administration that has embraced his recommendations to battle COVID-19.
  • Georgia surpasses 700,000 coronavirus cases Khurelsukh Ukhnaa resigns

The global release of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die” was postponed to October from April, its producers said

European Union

  • Meets to discuss genome sequencing of virus mutations and the bloc's vaccination drive
  • Double-dip recession looms
  • EU leaders seek to avoid border closures, proposes 'dark red' COVID-19 zones with stricter travel restrictions
  • Germany records large drop in 7-day count of coronavirus cases to keep in check fast-spreading new coronavirus variants. death toll tops 50,000
  • France's Macron pledges support for students amid new lockdown calls. Speaking at the Paris-Saclay university, Macron says students would be able to purchase two meals a day for the price of one and could return to in-person lectures once a week if they wished to. He also promised better access to mental health services.
  • Portugal considers closing all schools over 'dramatic' virus figures
  • In Spain, hospitals pay price for Christmas festivities

  • Swedish government extends virus restrictions to early February

World Bank says it will fund scheme to provide Covid-19 vaccines for Lebanon


South Africa will pay $5.25 per dose for COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII) - well above what others, including developed nations, are paying for the same shots, local newspaper Business Day reports

Jan 20

As of 7 pm,96,722,113 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 69,416,699 and 2,068,146 people have died.

There is a spike in world deaths to 17,488 over the last 24 hours

UK coronavirus strain detected in at least 60 countries: WHO. Beijing records first cases: city health officials

Australian Open cluster grows as two more players test positive

Pandemic raises Japan suicide rate after decade of decline

IOC veteran Dick Pound says Tokyo Olympics could go ahead without fans

Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, Sibusiso Moyo, dies of covid.

Japan plans mass virus jabs before Olympics: reports

Hoaxes, doctored videos and far-fetched rumours are emerging as some of the biggest threats to India’s massive coronavirus vaccine drive, with misinformation blamed for sluggish initial take-ups.
There has long been deep distrust of government health programmes throughout the vast nation of 1.3 billion people, particularly among minority communities, making a strong foundation for the proliferation of vaccine “fake news”.

Rick deSantis, Florida disaster

Florida governor and Trump ally Rick deSantis in late September, issued an executive order that prohibited cities and counties from enforcing mask mandates. You can trace Florida’s spike in cases to that date and thus to that decision. The per capita rate is now almost 25% higher than the previous high in July. It took a lawsuit to force DeSantis to release the weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Last week, Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz told a legislative committee that the White House allowed most of the state’s COVID-19 vaccines to go unused for weeks. South Florida Sun Sentinel

Britain suffers spike in deaths for new record of 1,820 cases in the last 24 hours.

A coronavirus antibody test that China has made mandatory for arriving travellers has provoked concerns over its effectiveness after one of a team of international health experts was briefly denied entry last week following a positive result. Although the British expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) subsequently tested negative, it was not immediately clear if the earlier result was a false positive, or the result of previous infection or a COVID-19 vaccination.

Jan 19

As of 7 pm, 96,080,360 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 68,749,729 and 2,051,488 people have died.

WHO: 'Sustained boom' in cases straining hospitals in Americas

Britain suffers spike in deaths for new record of 1,610 cases in the last 24 hours.

Deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 400,000 in the United States on Tuesday, as the pandemic rages on and new virus variants emerge around the world.

Jan 18

As of 7 pm, 95,553,377 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 68,267,679 and 2,041,232 people have died.

Italian hospital creates 'hugging room' for safe embraces through special plastic sheets

SAfrica virus strain more contagious, experts confirm

United States

  • California’s state epidemiologist is urging a halt to more than 300,000 coronavirus vaccinations using a Moderna vaccine version because some people received medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, frustrated at the slow federal roll out of vaccines, writes directly to Pfizer to make a deal.
  • Man who allegedly hid 3 months at Chicago airport due to virus should get off with a fine. Aditya Singh spent the time at Chicago's O'Hare restricted area, being fed by passengers

Germany to distribute millions of masks as mutant virus concerns grow

Poland: some hospitals forced to suspend vaccination after delivery fails

Spain sees weekend record top 84,000 new coronavirus infections

Nearly three million people are put under lockdown in China after a surge in coronavirus cases linked to a travelling salesman in the country’s northeast Jilin Province.

Vaccine manufacturing is lumpy, supply not as good as hoped, Britain says

Jan 17

Brazil grants emergency approval to Sinovac and AstraZenca vaccines

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has authorized the dispatch of oxygen to Brazil to help its South American neighbor treat people sickened amid another wave of the coronavirus, despite frosty relations between the two governments and Venezuela’s own lack of hospital supplies.

... and in tennis

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios dismisses world number one Novak Djokovic as a “tool” as a backlash grew against tennis players flown in for the Australian Open during a raging pandemic. Kyrgios joined a wave of criticism of the Serb for reportedly issuing a list of demands for quarantined players who have arrived in Melbourne and Adelaide on chartered flights.

Rebekah Jones, 31, is arrested in Florida. The former Florida Department of Health employee who was fired for insubordination after repeatedly violating the agency’s policy about communicating with the media turned herself in to sheriff’s officials on charges of accessing computer equipment without authority. Jones tweeted this morning that “insurrectionists planning attacks across the country this week and Florida is jailing scientists for the crimes of knowing and speaking.“ She also tweeted that she is “censored by the state of Florida until further notice.”  Jones claims she was fired from the Department of Health for refusing to falsify data.

In Norway, where 13 frail elderly people died after a first vaccine injection, the Medicines Agency said there was no cause for alarm after suggestions last week that the deaths could be linked to side effects. “It is quite clear that these vaccines present very little risk, with the minimal exception of the most fragile patients,” agency official Steinar Madsen told public broadcaster NRK.

Hundreds demonstrate against coronavirus deniers in Hamburg, Germany.

Germany needs several more weeks of lockdown despite a decline in case numbers since Christmas, Hajo Zeeb of the Leibniz research institute says.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says lockdown will remain until Feb 7

Philippines' Covid caseload breaches half a million, with 9,895 dead

Three Covid-19 infections diagnosed in Washington in October were caused by virus with a mutation that might boost the respiratory bug's ability to dodge immune defences. The mutation, called E484K, is also present in two of the worrisome new viral variants spreading around the globe - those that originated in South Africa and Brazil. But the virus detected in Washington did not have any of the other mutations that characterize those variants, said researchers at the UW Medicine Virology Lab.

‘Dark weeks ahead’: Incoming CDC director Rochelle Walensky expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February

United States

Fauci says approval of AstraZeneca vaccine is 'weeks away'

As of 6 pm, 95,465,872 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 68,155,479 and 2,039,083 people have died.

Jan 16

Australian Open players who shared flights to Melbourne with passengers who later tested positive for coronavirus have been confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days, says Tennis Australia

India begins world's biggest Covid-19 vaccination drive, planning to vaccinate 300 million people - nearly equal to the entire population of the United States - by the end of July.

As of 6 pm, 94,933,637 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 67,770,163 and 2,029,932 people have died.

Jan 15

2 Million people have now died of the virus.

Moscow to vaccinate citizens in famous Gum department store in Red Square and Helikon opera house

Philippines extends entry ban of foreign visitors from more than 30 countries until end of month

China allows entry of initially-barred WHO expert for pandemic probe

Hong Kong's Lunar New Year fireworks cancelled again

Hundreds of thousands of people have left Britain due to the effects of the pandemic on the economy, a study reports. There is an "unprecedented exodus" of workers born outside Britain, researchers at London's Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence said.

Jan 14

New Zealand announces it will allow 1,000 international students to return from April, giving priority to those closest to graduation.

As of 6 pm, 92,848,561 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 66,405,548 and 1,988,483 people have died.

Manila gives emergency use authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine


Emily Lawson, a 101-year-old who was born into a world ravaged with the deadly Spanish flu virus, received the Covid-19 vaccine in Scotland

Jan 13

Austria alarmed as 70 suspected cases of virus variant B1117 reported

Philippines detects new B1117 coronavirus strain from Britain

Norwegian king and queen vaccinated

World wide deaths spike at 16,445 over the previous 24 hours

Britain records a peak of 1,564 deaths to set a new record

As of 6 pm, 91,378,222 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 65,394,208 and 1,954,660 people have died.

Jan 12

South Africa closes all land border posts. Daily deaths spike to 755 to break the previous record of 584 July 22,

China places 5 million more under lockdown to stamp out virus cluster near Beijing

United States

  • deaths spike at 4,491 over the last 24 hours for a new record


Malaysia declares virus emergency, sparking anger from critics who charge it is a bid by an unstable government to cling to power.

A global emergency stockpile of 500,000 Ebola vaccine doses will be created to respond quickly to future outbreaks, the vaccine alliance Gavi says


Jan 11

One year ago, China announced the first death from a new virus in Wuhan - 12 months later, Covid-19 has claimed 1.9 million lives in an unrelenting march across the world. But in the central Chinese city of 11 million where the first known outbreak started, the virus has been extinguished.

A patient, 92, dies in Argentina after a judge ordered a clinic to give him chlorine dioxide, a powerful disinfectant. His stepson took the  the Otamendi y Miroli clinic in Buenos Aires to court last Thursday, the day after his mother died from Covid-19. Doctors are furious that a judge ruled on a medical treatment. 

United States

  • Virus deaths surging in California, now top 30,000
  • Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park

  • US dispensing shots at stadiums and fairgrounds

  • Biden gets his second vaccination

WHO again says it seeks facts, not blame as China green-lights virus probe

BioNTech/Pfizer could produce 2 billion vaccine doses this year

Peru's intensive care units at capacity as virus cases surge

Pakistan launches new anti-polio drive amid tight security

Thousands gather for Japan coming-of-age day despite virus surge

Indonesia approves China's Sinovac vaccine as infections surge

A World Health Organisation team of 10 scientists will visit China from Thursday to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, China’s National Health Commission says. On the trip, which was delayed due to visas not being approved, the WHO team “will conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of Covid-19 with Chinese scientists,” the statement said.

Paramedics struggle to find hospital beds in virus-hit Mexico

As of 7 pm, 90,755,600 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 64,899,658 and 1,944,518 people have died. 

Jan 10

Chinese health authorities reported 136 coronavirus cases nationwide, as the country continues efforts to rein in a new outbreak.

Seychelles races to vaccinate 70 per cent of its population

Africa passes the 3 million infections milestone with more than 72,000 recorded deaths

Micronesia records its first case

Benin holds its annual voodoo festival Sunday without the usual grand processions after authorities of the West African country banned large gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa

  • South Africa, with more than 1.2 million reported cases, including 32,824 deaths, accounts for more than 30% of the total for the continent of 54 countries and 1.3 billion people. The high proportion of cases in South Africa, could be because the country carries out more tests than many other African countries.
  • South Africa is battling a resurgence of the disease, driven by a variant of the virus that is more contagious and spreading quickly. Many hospitals are reaching capacity, yet the numbers of those infected are expected to continue rising, according to health experts.
  • South Africa’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 19.86 new cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 26 to 30.18 new cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 9, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Mass vaccination sites open in New York City as virus batters U.S. As of early today, New York City had administered 203,181 doses of the vaccines to its residents out of more than 524,000 doses that have been delivered, data from the city’s health department showed.

Brazil tops 1,000 daily average coronavirus deaths for the first time since August

An outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu is rapidly spreading across India, with seven states confirming cases and others awaiting test results as they put containment measures in place, officials say.


  • Country is on course to meet coronavirus vaccine targets, Health Secretary Matt Hancock says
  • Nation helps raise US1bn in global vaccine donations from global donors towards the drive to help “vulnerable countries” access coronavirus vaccines, by match-funding contributions.

Jan 09

Israel records four South African Covid-19 variant 501Y.V2 cases

Thousands of devotees thronged a church in Manila, the Philippines capital for a glimpse of a centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ believed to have miraculous healing powers, after an annual Catholic parade was cancelled due to Covid-19. Ignoring official pleas to stay home because of the virus threat, Catholics wearing masks and face shields gathered along an avenue outside the Quiapo Church in Manila where the first of 15 masses for the feast of the Black Nazarene began before dawn. The orderly scenes were in contrast to the normal frenzied procession involving hundreds of thousands of pilgrims risking life and limb to touch the icon in the belief it can heal the sick.

Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, caught the coronavirus over Christmas, her office says

Pope's personal doctor Fabrizio Soccorsi dies from coronavirus 'complications', aged 78, after pontiff revealed he will get vaccine as early as next week

Another mutant strain of COVID is discovered in Japan - as experts warn it's similar to highly contagious UK and South Africa variants. It too replicates in the throat. 


  • Queen, Prince Philip given Covid-19 jab 
  • Surpasses the 3 million infections barrier
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock is left red-faced when he arrives at a doctor's office for a press briefing about getting vaccinated at GP's offices, only to discover the vaccine had not arrived.

Jan 08

Australia's Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown after UK  variant B1117 case discovered

United States

  •  Nation sets record of 308,011 new cases recorded over the last 24 hours.
  • People are randomly getting vaccinated at pharmacies because of extra doses that need to be used before they expire. When people don't show up for their allotted shot, quick thinking pharmacists are asking random strangers if they want the dose, rather than throwing it away. While there is a list of people who should be getting the vaccine, once it becomes apparent it might go to waste, they give it to the nearest willing recipient.

Preliminary Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against the variants B117 and 501Y.V2 which were first noticed in Britain and South Africa respectively

As of 6 pm, 88,560,978 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands at 63,656,932 and 1,907,707 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 07

Authorities in Shijiazhuang a city declare a "state of war" as it sees a spoke in cases. China reports highest single day tally, 63, since July as authorities try to stamp out an outbreak of the virus in city of Shijiazhuang a city of 11 million near Beijing. China's daily cases outside Beijing rise to 230 in just five days. Shijiazhuang's 11 million inhabitants are all being tested and can no longer leave the city. Six million tests have already been taken and are being evaluated.

A vaccine candidate made by China’s Sinovac is 78 per cent effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to results of a study announced by Brazilian state health officials seeking federal approval of the shot.

Japan declares virus state of emergency in Tokyo region hoping the month-long measure can bring a surging wave of infections under control. Still it is far softer than other nations. Residents of affected areas will be asked to avoid non-essential outings after 8pm and businesses will be urged to maximise teleworking, with the goal of reducing commuter traffic by 70 per cent. 

Brazil exceeds 200,000 deaths

Philippines adds Portugal, Indian, Finland, Norway, Jordan and Brazil to its ban list in an attempt to stop the new strains entering the country. It has already banned visitors from the United States, Britain, South Africa, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Hong Kong, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, Lebanon, Japan, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Australia, France, Iceland and South Korea.

United States

  • Worried Los Angeles County health leaders said Wednesday that the region was rapidly losing its battle against Covid-19 as the virus spread unchecked, adding that only immediate and decisive changes in behavior can prevent a steep rise in deaths as a post-holiday surge hits and hospitals can't treat all who are sick.
  • California has distributed at least 166 refrigerated trailers to be used as temporary morgues by overwhelmed hospitals facing record deaths, officials say

  • Most Covid deaths in a single day, 4,134 for a new record. New cases peak at 274,190 in the previous 24 hours to set the record

  • Folks are gasping for breath. Folks look like they’re drowning when they are in bed right in front of us. I’m begging everyone to help us out because we aren’t the front line. We’re the last line.” - Dr. Jeffrey Chien, an emergency room physician at Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center

Australia says vaccinations likely to begin February

Spain hits two million virus cases

South Africa to receive 1.5 m AstraZeneca vaccine doses from India, with first vaccines planned for this month


  • About 1.5 million people across Britain have received initial doses of a Covid-19 jab, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says
  • France keeps border with Britain closed due to B117 mutation

  • England to introduce mandatory tests for international arrivals

  • Britain’s National Health Service will from next week employ a little-used field hospital specially built at a huge exhibition center in east London in the early days of the pandemic last spring. NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens says the pressures facing hospitals in London and the southeast of England are so acute that the Nightingale hospital at the ExCel London will be opened next week to inpatients. A few hundred beds for non-COVID patients are expected to be available at first.

As of 6 pm, 87,739,431 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 63,208,349 and 1,893,402 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 06

The world sets a new record with 803,649 new cases in the previous 24 hours.

United States

  • The US reaches a new daily death high of 4,100 in the last 24 hours
  • Nearly 4,000 new cases and 28 more deaths confirmed in South Carolina
  • Health officials say at least 29 people developed severe allergic reactions to coronavirus vaccines, but they stress that the risk for most people is low. Those 29 of the more than 5.3 million people who have been vaccinated suffered anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can be controlled through an epinephrine injection. That’s a rate of about 5.5 cases per million people, which is roughly four times higher than the rate seen in a study of people who got flu shots.

  • New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo threatens to fine hospitals if they don’t use their allotment of COVID-19 vaccine fast enough.

  • South Carolina's governor Henry McMaster warns health workers to get vaccinated by January 15, or go to the back of the queue.

  • The nation has vaccinated more than 5.3 million people

Denmark bars South African residents over new 501Y.V2 virus strain

Thousands take part in Austria anti-lockdown protests

An Andean village festival known as the Diablada, or dance of the devils, was muted Wednesday because of the health emergency. But a small group of people in demon and other costumes still danced without spectators, obeying municipal rules that no more than 30 people participate as Ecuador struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

More than 600 journalists have died of Covid-19 last year since March 1, a press freedom organisation Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said, calling for media workers to have priority access to vaccines.

Ireland closes schools due to 'tsunami' virus surge

The EU clears the Moderna vaccine for use.

Morocco approves AstraZeneca/Oxford virus jab


  • The city of Shijiazhuang in china has been cut off in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus beyond the city in Hebei Province. Ten highways leading into the city have been closed as was the bus terminal. There have been 117 cases in the city - including at least 63 more reported today - 78 of which were asymptomatic, prompting mass testing across the affected area.
  • Delays to a long-planned mission by WHO experts to China to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic are “not just a visa issue”, Beijing says. The sensitive mission has been beset by delays and politics, with fears of a whitewash by Beijing. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying tells reporters talks are continuing between the two sides over “the specific date and specific arrangement of the expert group’s visit”. “The issue of origin-tracing is incredibly complicated. To ensure the work of the international expert team in China goes smoothly, we have to carry out necessary procedures and make relevant arrangements,”


  • The United Kingdom records 1,162 deaths in the previous 24 hours, coming very close to its record of 1,166 deaths on April 21.
  • England goes back into full lockdown.
  • AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine starts being rolled out at surgeries

  • Breaks record for new infections with 62,322 in the last 24 hour

Israel is out front with vaccinations, having covered some 13.5 percent.

Malaysia reports almost 2,600 coronavirus cases in new daily record

Japan’s daily virus cases top 5,000 for the first time

Russia: more than 1 million vaccinated

As of 8 pm, 86,950,557 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 61,664,610 and 1,878,508 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 05

Melatonin may decrease the probability of catching Covid-19 by up to 28 per cent, scientists say

Tokyo’s annual New Year tuna auction ends without the usual jaw-dropping bidding war, with the country’s “Tuna King” citing the pandemic woes affecting the restaurant industry. The most expensive fish of the day - a 208-kilogram bluefin caught off the northern Aomori region, known for its quality tuna - was bought by another bidder for US$202,000.

Australia vows not to rush vaccine rollout, citing Britain's 'problems'

WHO advises bigger gap between vaccinations only in exceptional cases

A visit by a team of experts working with the WHO learn at "the last minute"  that they will not be able to travel to China as planned to research the origins of the coronavirus. "Today we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team's arrival in China. I am very disappointed with this news given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute," read a quote from WHO director general Tedros Adhanom, which was tweeted by the agency.

United States

  • Grammys 2021 postponed due to Covid-19 concerns
  • US logs its worst daily death toll recording 3,936 fatalities in 24 hours, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
  • The coronavirus crisis battering Los Angeles County’s medical system is reaching increasingly desperate levels, with health care providers running low on equipment, ambulance operators being told not to bring patients who have virtually no chance of survival to hospitals, and officials scrambling to ensure they can provide enough life-saving oxygen for critically ill patients.

China gives Stemirna Therapeutics permission for a clinical trial of their vaccine. The potential vaccine, which Stemirna has started working on since January last year, is based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, Tibet Rhodiola Pharma, which is jointly developing the candidate with Stemirna, said in a filing. 

A Dutch teenager who tested positive for the coronavirus is detained at Zurich airport for trying to fly home despite quarantine regulations, Swiss police say. The 17-year-old was apprehended shortly before boarding an aircraft to Amsterdam, police said. The girl confessed to showing a falsified negative coronavirus test result at the airport.


  • Breaks its record for new infections with 60,916 new cases and 830 deaths in the last 24 hours

As of 8 pm, 86,195,878 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 61,176,060 and 1,863,090 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 04

Cambodia reopens schools and museums as others lock down

Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Centre in the US state of California discovers that its freezer has broken, thawing the vaccines and leaving it only two hours to give out shots. Staff dropped everything to ensure that as many doses as possible, calling on the community for help from other medics, and to get people to the hospital. Not even a big truck accident on a freeway, which cut the hospital off from its sister hospital, could stop them and by the two-hour deadline, every dose had found an arm

Thousands of people line up in Beijing to get their vaccines as China races to inoculate millions before next month's Chinese New Year. Health authorities on New Year’s Eve granted “conditional” approval to a vaccine candidate made by Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm, which the company said had a 79 percent efficacy rate.

As Indonesia prepares to begin mass inoculations against COVID-19, its plan to prioritise working age adults over the elderly, aiming to reach herd immunity fast and revive the economy, will be closely watched by other countries.

Egypt probes Covid-19 deaths due to alleged lack of oxygen after deaths of at least four coronavirus patients early Sunday at a public Egyptian hospital


  • Britain rolls out AstraZeneca shots as virus vaccinations gather pace
  • Scientists worry that vaccines will not work on SA variant 501Y.V2. Scientists say it is different from others circulating in the country because it has multiple mutations in the important “spike” protein that the virus uses to infect human cells. It has also been associated with a higher viral load, meaning a higher concentration


United States

  • With vaccinations ramped up, Fauci says he sees a glimmer of hope

As of 8 pm, 85,574,402 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 60,545,080 and 1,852,264people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 03

Days-long rave prompts Spain to crack down on coronavirus rules

India grants emergency approval to AstraZeneca/Oxford, local vaccine

South Africa unveils vaccine strategy, but struggles to secure doses


  • Saudi Arabia to allow flights from Britain, over B117 variant, but require virus test

United States

  • Fatalities top 350,000
  • Trump claims deaths are 'exaggerated,' health experts, including Fauci push back
  • New, possibly more contagious virus strain detected in California

  • Feared post-Christmas virus surge appears to begin in LA County

As of 9 am, 84,984,546 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 60,094,174 and 1,843,112 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 02

United States

  • another record of more than 275,897 new Covid-19 cases amid disrupted holiday data

Australia's virus cluster expands as Victoria, NSW clock new cases

Illegal New Year's rave in France results in more than 1,000 fines


  • Britain breaks single-day infection record registering 57,700 new cases as mutant strain spreads

As of 9 am, 84,354,341 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 59,622,576 and 1,834,467 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Jan 01

Belgian authorities confirm 26 deaths after Saint Nicholas celebration in care home

Mexicans struggle to get oxygen amid virus case surge

Turkey bans Britons after detecting cases of coronavirus variant in travellers from UK

United States

  • US passes 20 million coronavirus cases: Johns Hopkins University
  • In Los Angeles, spiraling deaths leave morgues overflowing and funeral homes turning away grieving families
  • 9 nuns at NY convent die  in month

British hospitals around the country face a perilous situation in January, medical workers warn amid surging coronavirus infections blamed on a new virus variant. Authorities pressed to reactivate field hospitals previously mothballed just to handle the crush of new patients.

In the past 24 hours, 83,800,239 people have been infected by Covid-19. The number of recoveries stands  at 59,320,807 and 1,825,016 people have died. The number of countries and territories with no active cases is 11 with the addition of several Pacific islands and countries which have not declared any cases: Kiribati, Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, North Korea, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

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