January 18 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Sharon Braithwaite and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 19, 2021
33 Posts
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9:55 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Pakistan approves use of China's Sinopharm vaccine following order of 1.2 million doses

From Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority has granted approval for the use of a vaccine developed by Sinopharm, a state-run Chinese firm.

In December last year Pakistan’s minister of science Fawad Chaudhry had announced that the country would be purchasing 1.2 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from China’s Sinopharm in early 2021.

China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine has a 79.34% efficacy, higher than its Chinese competitor Sinovac.

The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been regarded as potentially affordable and easily distributed vaccine candidates. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Chinese shots do not require expensive cold storage.

Head here to find out more about the latest on the rollout of Chinese vaccines.

9:31 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

India vaccinates more than 380,000 people in first 3 days of roll out

From CNN's Manveena Suri

A medical worker inoculates a doctor with a Covid-19 vaccine at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad, India, on January 18.
A medical worker inoculates a doctor with a Covid-19 vaccine at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad, India, on January 18. Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

India has vaccinated at least 381,305 people since its nationwide program started on Saturday, according to a press conference by the country’s Health Ministry on Monday.

On Monday alone, 148,266 people received injections. India has given emergency approval to vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and a local pharmaceutical company, Bharat Biotech. It is unclear the breakdown of drugs used in the vaccine program’s initial stage.

Health Ministry officials also reported 580 instances where people reported adverse events following immunization and that seven people were hospitalized. 

Two deaths have also been reported, but officials say evidence does not suggest it was caused by the vaccine. 

A 53-year-old man in northern Uttar Pradesh state died on Sunday morning, a day after receiving the vaccine. A post mortem report revealed the cause of death due to cardiopulmonary disease. In southern Karnataka state, a 43-year-old man passed away on Monday after receiving the vaccine on Saturday with the cause of death also linked to cardiopulmonary failure.

“These deaths are not related to the vaccination according to the post mortem report,” health ministry officials stressed at a press conference on Monday.

9:26 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

60% of all US Covid-19 cases have been reported since Election Day

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A sworker distributes a COVID-19 testing kit at a testing site in Wilmington, Delaware on December 21, 2020.
A sworker distributes a COVID-19 testing kit at a testing site in Wilmington, Delaware on December 21, 2020. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

More than half – 60% – of all Covid-19 cases in the United states have been reported since Election Day, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

As of Monday morning, there are 23,937,331 Covid-19 cases in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Whereas, on the morning of Nov. 4 – the day after the US presidential election – there were a total of 9,573,836 cases.

8:34 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Brazil to start its vaccination plan today

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

A nurse prepares a shot of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, at a hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday.
A nurse prepares a shot of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, at a hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. Carla Carniel/AP

Brazil’s government has said its nationwide coronavirus vaccination plan will start Monday afternoon.

The announcement was made earlier in the day by Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello from a São Paulo health ministry facility during a ceremony to deliver the Chinese-made Coronavac shot to state governors.

Coronavac was approved Sunday -- along with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine -- by the country’s health regulator agency Anvisa. Pazuello had previously said on Sunday the national immunization plan would begin Wednesday. However, it was moved up at the request of state governors.

Brazil has currently recorded more than 8.4 million Covid-19 infections and almost 210,000 deaths. It trails only the United States and India in total coronavirus cases.

How the vaccine will be rolled out in Brazil:

  • The first batch of Coronavac vaccines is scheduled to be given to health professionals, people over the age of 60 and indigenous people. Brazil's health ministry has not yet released a detailed immunization distribution plan. 
  • The 6 million doses of Coronavac vaccine distributed to the state governors on Monday came from the Butantan Institute, a São Paulo state biomedical facility.
  • In São Paulo state, where over 100 people received the vaccine on Sunday, ahead of the health ministry immunization plan, the vaccination continues Monday for health professionals in public hospitals.
  • Brazil is waiting for the arrival of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The first of 256 million doses from a contract signed with local partner Oswaldo Cruz Foundation is scheduled to arrive in the country by the end of January following several delays.
8:25 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

World is "on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" with vaccines, says WHO chief

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is pictured at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 2020.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is pictured at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

As countries across the world roll out millions of coronavirus vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) gave a frank warning about the fairness of the global situation.

"The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, adding that "the promise of equitable access is at serious risk."

"More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country. Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25," Tedros said at the opening the WHO Executive Board meeting.
"I need to be blunt... the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries," he added.

"Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering," Tedros

The WHO chief added that "vaccine equity is not just a moral imperative, it is a strategic and economic imperative," and called for a fairer vaccine distribution across the world.

8:04 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Advice from a doc: Don't delay key medical appointments in the pandemic

From CNN's Katia Hetter

As many people postpone necessary medical care due to the pandemic, medical professionals are worried that their patients will get sick or even die from other causes.

Some 25% of Americans said that they or someone in their household had delayed medical care in the past month due to coronavirus, according to a December Kaiser Family Foundation study. An earlier report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 41% of Americans delayed medical care, including 12% who postponed urgent or emergency care.

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, says she “certainly understand why some people have postponed their medical appointments” but expressed concern that patients are forgoing care for ongoing medical issues.

“It's important for people to check in with their doctors' offices,” she says.  

Wen advises that when making decisions about postponing appointments, consider if it could be done virtually or if that's not an option, can you combine multiple visits to reduce overall risk.

Head here to find out more about which appointments could be delayed and which you really should try and attend, as well as what precautions are worth considering.

7:55 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Restrictions could be gradually eased from March in the UK, says minister

From CNN's Nina Avramova in Vienna and Lindsay Isaac in London

A stall sells coffee and food on a quiet street with closed shops in Soho, central London, on January 15.
A stall sells coffee and food on a quiet street with closed shops in Soho, central London, on January 15. Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pandemic restrictions could be lifted from March in the United Kingdom once the most vulnerable are protected with a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a government minister.

The reopening of the country will be "gradual, it will be probably through the tiered system," and likely two to three weeks after the middle of February target for vaccinating the "top four cohorts" of vulnerable people, the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC on Monday. 

The government plans to administer the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by February 15 to about 15 million people across the UK, including care home residents, health and social care workers, and older people.

“If we take the mid-February target -- two weeks after that you get your protection pretty much for the Pfizer/BioNTech [vaccine], three weeks for the Oxford/AstraZeneca, [then] you are protected," Zahawi said.

7:41 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Iran records more than 5,800 daily Covid cases

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Iran reported 5,806 new coronavirus infections on Monday, adding to the country's case count of more than 1.3 million. It also recorded 83 new fatalities, bringing the current total death toll to 56,886.

Iran is the Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of total cases and deaths.

The new numbers were announced by Iran’s Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadaat Lari in a news conference on state TV. The health ministry said 4,348 patients are currently hospitalized in intensive care units.

7:25 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Upmarket Swiss ski resort quarantines hotels after virus variant outbreak

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz has quarantined two hotels and temporarily closed all ski schools to curb the outbreak of a coronavirus variant in the area.

The Swiss canton of Grisons ordered all people in the area to wear a mask in a statement after it registered the emergence of cases Sunday evening. The canton's health department did not specify which variant had appeared.

Around a dozen cases are currently known in two hotels. To protect the health of the population and guests, the health department has quarantined the two hotels and ordered corona tests for their employees and guests," the canton said in the statement.

It added that mass testing of the population in the upmarket ski resort would take place on Tuesday.

Many European Alpine destinations were shuttered over the recent festive season. However, Switzerland took a different approach. The government banned public events and limited private gatherings in early December but allowed each local cantonal authority to authortize if ski resorts could open provided Covid-19 measures were put in place.

See how Verbier, Switzerland, is staying open amid pandemic: