December 28 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 29, 2020
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3:49 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Oman to lift travel ban imposed because of new Covid-19 variant

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Oman will reopen its borders on Tuesday after closing them for a week amid concerns over the new, more contagious variant of coronavirus first detected by the United Kingdom, state media reported Sunday.

The Supreme Committee, which oversees the highest decision making in Oman, released a statement on Sunday announcing that borders will reopen at midnight and travelers entering the country will be required to quarantine for seven days.

Every traveler must have a negative PCR test before boarding for travel and expect to be tested again on arrival, the statement said. 

Passengers entering the sultanate are also required to register on Oman's Covid-19 tracking app and wear a tracking bracelet during the duration of their quarantine.  

Vaccine drive: The decision to lift the travel ban comes on the same day Oman launched its vaccination campaign. 

Health Minister Dr. Ahmed Mohammed al-Saidi was the first person to be inoculated against Covid-19, state media reported. 

The first batch of vaccines delivered on Thursday contained 15,600 doses and 28,000 are expected to arrive in early January, the health minister said, according to state media. 

3:20 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

South Korea detects Covid-19 variant from UK travelers

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

South Korea announced that it has detected the new, more contagious Covid-19 variant -- first identified in England -- in three visitors traveling from London, the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday.

The three visitors were from the same family who arrived from London on December 22, the agency said. They tested positive for Covid-19 when entering South Korea and have since been placed under quarantine.

South Korea on Monday extended a ban on flights from the UK until January 7.

New cases: On Sunday, South Korea reported 808 new Covid-19 cases, of which 787 were locally transmitted, the agency added. 

This brings the total number of infections across the country to 57,680, while the death toll currently stands at 819. 

2:55 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Chinese city finishes mass testing of 6.4 million people amid Covid-19 cluster

From CNN's Beijing bureau

A resident of Ganjingzi District is tested for Covid-19 in Dalian, China on December 23.
A resident of Ganjingzi District is tested for Covid-19 in Dalian, China on December 23. Sipa USA

China's Dalian city announced it has finished a mass testing of 6.38 million residents amid a cluster of Covid-19 cases, local health authorities said on Sunday.

Since December 15, Dalian has reported 33 symptomatic cases, while another 27 asymptomatic patients have been placed under medical observation, the Dalian Municipal Health Commission said. 

The mass testing commenced on December 22, according to state-run People's Daily newspaper.

Beijing testing: Meanwhile, as of 3 p.m. Sunday, Beijing had collected 838,270 samples in another round of mass testing in the city's northeastern Shunyi district, Beijing's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The mass testing began on Friday after the city reported two locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, it added.

Close to 390,000 test results have returned, and five people who are identified as close contacts of the initial two cases have returned positive results for the virus. 

2:33 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

US reports more than 150,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian in Atlanta

The United States reported 150,092 new coronavirus infections and 1,209 virus-related deaths on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The nationwide totals now stand at 19,134,976 cases and 333,125 fatalities.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

At least 9,547,925 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 1,944,585 doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow CNN’s map:

2:15 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead but waterfront viewing is banned

From CNN's Eric Cheung

New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1.
New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve firework display is set to go ahead as planned Friday night, but people will not be allowed to gather along the harbor unless they are in hospitality venues, according to a news release issued by the NSW government on Monday.

The leader of the Australian state of New South Wales apologized for the restrictions during a news conference on Monday but said they were necessary to prevent a super spreading event. 

“On New Year’s Eve, we don’t want any crowds on the foreshores around Sydney whatsoever,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. 

New South Wales has been fighting the spread of a cluster of cases centered around a district in northern Sydney. 

NSW reported five new local cases in the 24 hours leading up to 8 p.m. on Sunday, of which four were linked to the outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area.

1:40 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Japan reports nearly 3,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

A nurse collects a nasal swab sample at a Covid-19 testing center at Fujimino Emergency Hospital in Miyoshi-machi, Japan, on December 18.
A nurse collects a nasal swab sample at a Covid-19 testing center at Fujimino Emergency Hospital in Miyoshi-machi, Japan, on December 18. Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan recorded 2,950 new Covid-19 cases and 39 virus-related deaths on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said in a statement released Monday.

This is a drop from Friday, when Japan reported the highest single-day infection number at 3,823.

The total number of confirmed cases nationwide now stands at 220,948, while the death toll has reached 3,265, according to the ministry.

A total of 659 patients, or five more compared with Saturday, are currently in serious condition, the ministry added.

UK variant: Starting Monday, Japan has banned foreign nationals from entering the country through the end of January after several cases of the Covid-19 variant were recorded in the country, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

The United Kingdom announced last week that it had detected a new, more contagious coronavirus variant, which has since been detected in more than a dozen countries.

1:08 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Saudi Arabia extends entry ban because of Covid-19 variant concerns

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Saudi Arabia is extending its entry ban to the kingdom by air, land and sea for another week because of the spread of the new coronavirus variant to several countries, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Sunday.

The ban first went into effect last week after the United Kingdom announced it had detected a new, more contagious coronavirus variant. Since then, the new variant has been detected in more than a dozen countries.

Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry, according to SPA, said it will only allow travelers to fly into the country under exceptional cases. Non-Saudis can take a flight out of the kingdom if they wish to depart, the ministry said.

12:33 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Brazil's vice president tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão, commemorates Brazilian Flag Day at the Planalto Palace n Brasilia, Brazil, on November 19.
Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão, commemorates Brazilian Flag Day at the Planalto Palace n Brasilia, Brazil, on November 19. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão has tested positive for Covid-19, CNN Brasil reported late Sunday, citing a statement from the vice presidency press office.

“The press office states that the vice president will remain in isolation at the official residence of Jaburu,” the statement said, according to CNN Brasil.

In early July, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also tested positive for the virus and recovered after isolating at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia. 

As of Sunday, Brazil has reported 7,484,285 cases of Covid-19 and 191,139 virus related deaths.

12:01 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Japan to introduce mobile tracking app for overseas travelers before Tokyo Olympics

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo and Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Japan will introduce a tracking system for overseas travelers before the Tokyo Olympics in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19, a government minister said on Sunday.

Speaking on a Fuji TV program, digital transformation minister Takuya Hirai said Japan will require all visitors to install a mobile app that can track their movements after entering the country.

The app, which is currently under development, will require users to turn on GPS systems and is expected to be released before the Tokyo Olympics, he added.

"It needs to be mandatory in the sense of protecting one another," he said.

 The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.