January 6 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim, Angela Dewan and Hannah Strange, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021
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7:21 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

German health minister asks for patience as frustration mounts over speed of vaccine rollout

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Jens Spahn, German health minister, attends a federal cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 6.
Jens Spahn, German health minister, attends a federal cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 6. Clemens Bilan/Pool/Getty Images

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has asked people in the country to be patient over the speed of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Spahn, speaking at a press conference Wednesday, said the first step was to get all those needing care and the oldest in the country vaccinated. 

He said almost 400,000 people in Germany had so far been vaccinated.

Figures from the Robert Koch Institute, the national agency for disease control and prevention, show that 367,331 vaccinations have been administered, with 150,000 in nursing homes and around 176,000 medical staff getting the shot. 

Germany lags behind the UK, which has vaccinated around 1.3 million people as of Tuesday. But it is ahead of France, which has also attracted criticism over a slow start to its vaccination rollout, administering 516 shots by January 1. The country has since significantly ramped up its rollout, with more than 5,000 doses given on January 5, according to its health minister. Italy has so far administered nearly 250,000 inoculations.

Spahn added that these were days of confidence for Germany.

But he also said he understood impatience in the population.

The truth is that the vaccine is a scarce good worldwide,” he said. 

“That is why we have to ask large parts of the population for patience,” Spahn said, explaining that the situation was no different in the wider European Union or beyond.

Spahn said the reason for the rollout speed was due to limited production capacity.

The good news: There will be enough vaccine in Germany," he said.

Spahn said the hope was to be able to offer a vaccine to everyone in the summer. 

“Today we expect a second authorization for the Moderna vaccine,” he said, referring to a pending European Medicines Agency decision on the Moderna vaccine Wednesday.

“We are hoping that the delivery of Moderna vaccines starts early next week."

7:21 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Bavarian leader says vaccination is the only longterm strategy against Covid-19

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Markus Soeder, Bavarian prime minister, holds a press conference on January 5 in Berlin.
Markus Soeder, Bavarian prime minister, holds a press conference on January 5 in Berlin. Andreas Gora/Pool/Getty Images

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder has said that vaccination is the only real long-term strategy to fight against Covid. 

Speaking at a press conference in Munich, the German state leader said that while ordering vaccines was important, encouraging people to take the shots was also vital.

Soeder said it was important to launch a campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated. 

Bavaria was entering a crucial period now, he said, adding that “it has never been this bad.”

Germany's government announced Tuesday that the country's national lockdown -- which had initially been in place until January 10 -- will be extended until the end of the month.

The country recorded its second highest daily death toll from the coronavirus on Wednesday, with 1,019 fatalities recorded.

Soeder added: "Will everything be good on the first of February? Will everything be opened? I am not promising anything.”
7:02 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Over a hundred virus cases detected in China's Hebei province 

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

A cluster of virus cases in China's Hebei province has continued to grow, with over 39 confirmed cases and 78 asymptomatic cases reported on Tuesday, according to an official statement Wednesday.

China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that the cluster is linked to imported cases.

CDC deputy director-general Feng Zijian said on a CCTV state news program on January 5 that “the virus [in Hebei] is different from those that have been spreading in other parts of China. It is imported from overseas, possibly from Europe.”
Feng added that the cases spreading in Shijiazhuang and Xingtai are “highly related to the same source.”

The majority of cases are linked to the Gaocheng district of Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei province, with another city, Xingtai, 100km away from the capital, reporting two cases. 

The first case was reported on January 2, when a Gaocheng district resident tested positive for the virus a few days after going to a wedding. A few other attendees tested positive later.

Gaocheng has been designated as a "high-risk area," starting Wednesday.

People who wish to travel from Shijiazhuang airport and train station need to present a negative PCR test result from within the last 72 hours. 

The city will start testing all residents from January 6, according to a spokesperson from the Shijiazhuang Municipal People’s Government, who spoke at a press conference on Tuesday. 

5:45 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Denmark bans entry for travelers from South Africa over variant fears

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen in Italy

Denmark has banned travelers from South Africa from entry and is discouraging travel to the African nation, due to a new Covid-19 variant first detected there.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark now advises against all travel, including business travel, to the whole of South Africa, according to a press release published Tuesday night.

The variant has a pattern of mutation which troubles scientists and appears to make the virus more easily transmitted. Another variant first detected in the UK has prompted similar global concern.

5:30 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

US states call in National Guard as country hits daily Covid-19 death toll record

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Funeral director Steven Correa moves the casket of someone said to have died from Covid-19 in preparation for burial at Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles, California, on December 31.
Funeral director Steven Correa moves the casket of someone said to have died from Covid-19 in preparation for burial at Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles, California, on December 31. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

The US reported its highest daily Covid-19 death count ever Tuesday -- a grim milestone that comes as state leaders work urgently to combat a slow pace of vaccinations.

More than 3,770 American deaths were reported in one day -- more than two dozen above the country's previous record, set less than a week ago. The country also topped 21 million infections Tuesday and set a hospitalization record, with more than 131,100 Covid-19 hospitalized patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

As numbers climb, US governors are now taking new measures to get the distributed vaccines into arms faster, including mobilizing National Guard members and training more volunteers to administer vaccines.

Read more:

5:18 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Beijing negotiating with WHO as expert team tries to enter China to probe origins of Covid-19

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

China says that it remains in close contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) about finalizing arrangements for a visit to Wuhan by an international panel of experts who will investigate the origin of Covid-19.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that two scientists on the United Nations (UN) team had already left their home countries for Wuhan when they were told that Chinese officials had not approved the necessary permissions to enter the country.

"I am very disappointed with this news," Tedros told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday, in a rare direct rebuke.

The WHO said on Tuesday that arrangements had been jointly agreed with China in advance of the trip.

WHO officials have long been negotiating with Beijing to allow a team of global scientists access to key sites to investigate the origin of the virus -- first detected in Wuhan in December 2019.

The scientists' visit was agreed between China and the WHO in October, and the experts and their Chinese counterparts had been in touch via zoom.

"Perhaps there is some misunderstanding," Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Hua added: “According to my understanding, the two sides are still in close communication about details relating to the specific dates and arrangements for the international expert group to come to China."

"We hope that through the communication between the two sides, we can finalize the arrangements as soon as possible and continue to promote cooperation."

Hua also said that China "has been maintaining good and close communication with WHO." 

The spokesperson added that Beijing was still working on creating "good conditions" for the international expert team to come to China to "carry out cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus."

"In order to ensure that the international expert group that comes to China can work smoothly, it is needed to fulfill the necessary procedures and make relevant specific arrangements. The two sides are still negotiating about this," Hua said.

Read more:

4:49 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Germany records second highest daily death toll from Covid-19

From CNN's Claudia Otto and Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany has recorded its second highest daily death toll from Covid-19, according to its national agency for disease control and prevention.

The Robert Koch Institute said Wednesday that a further 1,019 people had died, bringing the total fatality count to 36,537.

The all-time high daily death toll was reported on December 30 when 1,129 fatalities were recorded.

An additional 21,237 people were registered as having coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in Germany to 1,808,647.

The spiraling numbers come a day after Germany's government announced plans to extend the country's national lockdown until the end of the month.

The lockdown was due to end on January 10.

Germany will also further tighten restrictions on movement and contact in order to curb cases.

4:31 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Ireland Covid-19 hospital admissions surpass first wave peak

From CNN's Sarah Dean

Ireland now has more people hospitalized with Covid-19 than during the peak of the first wave, the CEO of the Health Service Executive Paul Reid said Wednesday on Twitter.

Reid tweeted: “With 921 people in hospital, we've now exceeded the peak level of the 1st wave (881).75 in ICU. Healthy people are getting very sick. Everyone gets how serious this is now. Let's all do what's needed, turn this around, save lives, whilst the vaccine arrives. We have to.”

On Tuesday, Ireland recorded 5,325 new daily coronavirus cases and 17 virus-related deaths. 

4:19 a.m. ET, January 6, 2021

UK vaccination target is "Herculean" but can be achieved, minister says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

People line up for vaccinations at the NHS London Bridge Vaccination Centre 1 on December 30, 2020 in London, England.
People line up for vaccinations at the NHS London Bridge Vaccination Centre 1 on December 30, 2020 in London, England. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Britain's target of vaccinating more than 13 million priority candidates against coronavirus by mid-February is "Herculean" but can be achieved, the UK health minister responsible for the program's deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, told Sky News on Wednesday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he hoped the country could vaccinate the four groups it has identified as top priority by the middle of next month, describing the number of people in those groups as “somewhat higher than 13 million.”

Asked if this target is achievable, Zahawi said it is an "Herculean effort."

"It is a stretching target no doubt. Very stretching target," he said adding that he's "confident" that with the plan that the NHS have put together "we will deliver this."

Progress so far: The NHS has administered more than 1.3 million vaccine doses since December 8, Zahawi said, adding that one in four 80-year-olds have already had their first shot. "And in a couple of weeks' time, those 25% of 80-year-olds will be protected, and of course will then get their second jab as well, so it is a Herculean effort," he said.

The minister also said that there will be a "massive acceleration" in the numbers of vaccinated people in the next few days, as the NHS gets more vaccination sites operational.