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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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.

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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:

5:27 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Bavaria records rise in Covid-19 infections

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder says current coronavirus restrictions are not enough to contain a rise in case numbers in the southern German state.

Germany is currently under a nationwide partial lockdown which prevents restaurants, bars and leisure facilities from opening. Limits have also been imposed on private gatherings, which are capped at five people from two households.

Soeder said on Monday that even stricter lockdown measures would be imposed across Bavaria from December 9.

He said the current measures, though a partial success, had not done enough to contain the latest spread of infection.

"The opposite is true, we are seeing a slight increase of infections, and a strong increase of the number of people who die," Soeder said.

The Bavarian PM said he was bringing in the rules on the basis that every federal state which has been hit hard must also take special measures.

Bavaria's health ministry says that as of Sunday, 229,868 people in the state have been infected, with 4,291 coronavirus fatalities.

Bavaria is Germany's largest federal state, with a population of around 13 million people.

6:02 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020

As US average of daily cases nears 200,000, experts say "behavior and cold weather" are behind Covid-19 surge

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

A health care worker in San Francisco administers a nasal swab test at a Covid-19 testing site on December 1.
A health care worker in San Francisco administers a nasal swab test at a Covid-19 testing site on December 1. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the US nears an average of 200,000 Covid-19 cases a day, experts say "behavior and cold weather" are behind the current surge gripping American communities.

"People are going indoors, they're not minding the three W's," Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, told Fox News's Chris Wallace Sunday. "Our advice is always the same. Wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings."

Health experts have long warned that the holiday season would bring a spike in coronavirus cases as people increasingly gather indoors. As of Sunday, the US averaged 196,233 new cases over the last week, another record high, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins data.

More than 14.7 million confirmed cases have been reported in the US since the pandemic began, and more than 282,310 people have died.

And with the recent spike in cases, record hospitalizations have followed. On Sunday, 101,487 patients were in the hospital with the virus, the fifth consecutive day the US surpassed 100,000 hospitalizations.

Holiday season warning: Only a week after millions traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday, the US has still not seen the full effects of a potential surge of infections fueled by the gatherings. And Azar told ABC's George Stephanopoulos the holiday season might have more devastation in store.

"We're worried about people and the behaviors coming up with Christmas," he said. "We want to make sure everyone's loved ones are there next Christmas, especially when we have so much hope of vaccines."

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