December 7 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 8, 2020
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8:12 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Greece will extend coronavirus restrictions through Christmas

From CNN's Chris Liakos in London 

A person walks past a nearly empty square in Athens, Greece, on December 1.
A person walks past a nearly empty square in Athens, Greece, on December 1. Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

National coronavirus restrictions in Greece are to be extended over the Christmas holiday period, as part of ongoing efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus and ease pressure on the country's healthcare system.

Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said a night-time curfew and a ban on movement between regions would remain in place until Jan. 7. 

All schools, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, skiing centers and courts must remain closed until the restrictions are lifted in the new year. 

Seasonal shops have been granted permission to remain open, but the government is yet to finalize a decision on retail stores and hair salons. 

Petsas noted a steady improvement in the coronavirus situation in the country, but said it was happening more slowly than expected, with high numbers of hospital admissions and patients requiring intensive care continuing to put pressure on the healthcare system. 

"If we relax, we will pay for it," Petsas warned.

8:05 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

It's just after 8 a.m. in New York and 1 p.m. in London. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A pharmacy technician from Croydon Health Services, left, takes possession of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations at Croydon University Hospital in south London on December 5.
A pharmacy technician from Croydon Health Services, left, takes possession of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations at Croydon University Hospital in south London on December 5. Gareth Fuller/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 61 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.5 million. Here's what you need to know

  • Britain prepares for first vaccinations: The UK is gearing up to start giving the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Tuesday, less than a week after it became the first Western nation to approve a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • US average of daily cases nears 200,000: Experts say "behavior and cold weather" are behind the surge gripping American communities.
  • Bavaria records rise in Covid-19 infections: Lockdown measures will be tightened across the southern German state from December 9.
  • Restrictions eased in Italy's last remaining "Red Zone": Coronavirus restrictions are to be eased in Abruzzo, which becomes an "Orange Zone" on Monday.
  • Indonesia receives experimental vaccine from China: Indonesia says 1.2 million doses of China's experimental Covid-19 vaccine have arrived in Jakarta in good condition. The country plans to vaccinate nine million people  this month, according to a senior government minister.

7:48 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Denmark announces partial shutdown after surge in cases

From CNN's Susanne Gargiulo in Copenhagen

Denmark has announced a partial lockdown in 38 of 98 its counties, to curb rising coronavirus infection rates in harder-hit areas.

The remaining 60 counties will not be affected by the new restrictions, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a press conference Monday. 

"We have hit a serious stage of the epidemic," Frederiksen said. "Infection rates are too high and this is worrying. We must act now so we can stay in control of the epidemic."

Denmark has registered 2,024 new cases in the past 24 hours -- the first time that number has topped 2,000.

The country's health minister, Magnus Heunicke, said Denmark was entering a new phase of the epidemic, with the infection rate growing exponentially.

"If we don't take action now, we could surpass the numbers we saw in the spring at the peak of the epidemic," he said.

The new restrictions are due to come into effect on Wednesday, December 9.

They will see schools closed to children in the 5th grade and up. Bars and restaurants, theaters, cinemas and museums will also close, as will fitness centres and swimming pools.

The regional and local restrictions will last until January 3, 2021.

In addition, the Danish government says it will extend the existing nationwide restrictions until February 28, 2021.

Officials also urged caution over the Christmas period, noting that a week-long fall holiday in October led to a doubling in infection rates in the country.

On a more positive note, Frederiksen said restrictions implemented since the spring have worked to cut back the virus every time, allowing Danes to maintain a more normal daily life than most other countries.

"We have succeeded in handling this pandemic due to a shared and common effort -- despite conditions," she said. "Please don't doubt that this will work.
"In Denmark we handled the spring, we handled the summer and we handled the fall. With your help we will handle the winter.”
7:40 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Restrictions eased in Italy's last remaining "Red Zone" 

From CNN's Valentina Di Donato in Rome

A health worker is sanitized at a Covid-19 testing site in the Italian city of L'Aquila, Abruzzo, on December 6.
A health worker is sanitized at a Covid-19 testing site in the Italian city of L'Aquila, Abruzzo, on December 6. Andrea Mancini/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Coronavirus restrictions are to be eased in Italy's last remaining "Red Zone" region, Abruzzo, which moves to the "Orange Zone" classification on Monday, according to Italy’s Minister of Regional Affairs, Francesco Boccia. 

The decision was taken by the region’s Governor, Marco Marsilio, on Sunday -- without prior approval from the Italian Ministry of Health, making it the first region in Italy to unilaterally approve the easing of local restrictions. 

Coronavirus restrictions under the "Red Zone" classification are Italy's most severe, with a ban on all non-essential movement and all non-essential shops ordered to close. 

Under the "Orange Zone" classification, a curfew is in place between the hours of 10pm and 5am, and residents are banned from leaving their town and their region except for work or health reasons.

Bars and restaurants must also remain closed, with exceptions for those operating delivery or take-away services.

According to the latest Italian government data, the country has recorded 1,728,878 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 60,078 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

7:28 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

British Army may transport vaccine from Belgium to UK, minister says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

A temperature controlled cold storage truck leaves the Pfizer Inc. facility in Puurs, Belgium, on December 3.
A temperature controlled cold storage truck leaves the Pfizer Inc. facility in Puurs, Belgium, on December 3. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The British Army could "potentially" be used to help transport doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Belgium to the UK, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast on Monday.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine on December 2.

The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered from Tuesday in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland was the last country to confirm a start date for vaccinations, with its Department of Health making an announcement on Sunday night. The department said those carrying out the vaccinations would be the first to receive them.

Cleverly said Monday that the UK government was looking into "non-commercial flight options" to transport the vaccine, which he called a "top priority product."

"We've got our own independent transportation plans to ensure that the vaccine supply will come through -- it's going to be airlifted in, amongst other things," he told Sky News. 

Transport arrangements for the vaccine are immensely complex as it needs to be stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius -- minus more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

During his Sky News appearance, Cleverly said the UK had "border arrangements in place" to facilitate the transport of the vaccine. When asked the details of these arrangements, Cleverly said he did "not have the details to hand" he had "no doubt that the EU will help us to facilitate better travel."

His comments come as the EU and UK remain deadlocked over a post-Brexit trade deal. Despite this, Cleverly appeared confident that tense relations between the two sides would not affect co-operation over the transport of the vaccine.

Remarking that there are "lives at stake," Cleverly said he did not have a cynical view regarding the EU's willingness to help the UK. 

6:59 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

This is what the UK's Covid-19 vaccination cards will look like

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt and Niamh Kennedy

Images have been released of a credit card-sized document that will be given to recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, recording the specifics of the medication and reminding them to get a second dose of the jab.

Britain's healthcare providers are preparing to start administering the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday -- less than a week after the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine.

In the first wave of vaccinations, around 50 "hospital hubs" in England will begin offering the vaccine to people over 80, higher-risk National Health Service workers and care home staff.

After that, doctors' offices will start operating local vaccination centers — there will be around 1,000 of them across England — to vaccinate vulnerable patients.

Read more:

6:33 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Trump's pandemic blindness and election denial darkens America's desperate winter

From CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5.
President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump's denial during his final days in office is darkening America's winter of sickness and death, damaging democracy, hampering Joe Biden's nascent presidency and jeopardizing Republican hopes of clinging to the Senate.

The President's dereliction of duty, as a pandemic that has never been worse rages out of control, is depriving America of sorely needed leadership from its most powerful voice.

The scale of the crisis -- with death rates and hospitalizations soaring -- was further underscored Sunday after it emerged that Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has Covid-19.

The former New York mayor has been criss-crossing the country, making baseless claims that Democrats stole the election, often flouting mask wearing and social distancing protocols suggested by the President's own government.

After news broke that Giuliani is in Georgetown University Hospital, his son Andrew, who works in the White House, tweeted that his father was resting and feeling well.

Read more:

6:26 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

China's experimental Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in Indonesia

From Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Indonesia says 1.2 million doses of China's experimental Covid-19 vaccine have arrived in Jakarta in good condition.

The vaccines were received from China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd. late on Sunday.

Indonesia plans to vaccinate nine million people with the experimental vaccine this month, according to a senior government minister.

The vaccination drive is is separate from Phase 3 clinical trials for Sinovac, which are taking place in West Java in conjunction with Indonesia's state-owned biotechnology company Bio Farma. 

Indonesia said Monday that the shipment arrived in "good condition," and that the doses were ready to be distributed across the country, according to the state-run Antara News Agency.

The 1.2 million vaccine doses will be distributed from a refrigerated vehicle, according to the country's Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto.

Medical workers and their assistants, as well as supporting workers in health facilities, will be prioritized, the minister added.

Indonesia is expected to release another 1.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Sinovac in January 2021, according to Antara.

6:00 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

UK prepares to give first Covid-19 vaccinations as the world watches

From CNN's Laura Smith-Spark, Mia Alberti and Niamh Kennedy

Britain's healthcare providers are gearing up to start giving the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, less than a week after the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to approve a Covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccinations are set to begin on Tuesday in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland said it would start administering the vaccine early in the week but did not specify which day.

The process -- which is complicated by the need to store the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine under strict conditions and give each recipient two doses, three weeks apart -- will be closely watched from around the world.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, told Sky News on Sunday that 50 hospital hubs across England had already received their allocation of the vaccine, and that the distribution of the vaccine was "really well underway now."

Read more: