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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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.

10:32 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

US reports more than 118,000 coronavirus hospitalizations 

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The United States reported 118,720 current Covid-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, the fourth highest number reported since the pandemic began, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP). 

This is the 26th consecutive day that the US has remained above 100,000 current hospitalizations.

The highest hospitalization numbers according to CTP data are:

  1. Dec. 24: 120,151 people hospitalized
  2. Dec. 23: 119,463 people hospitalized
  3. Dec. 25: 118,948 people hospitalized
  4. Dec. 27: 118,720 people hospitalized
  5. Dec. 22: 117,777 people hospitalized
10:27 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Singapore will begin Covid-19 vaccinations from Dec. 30

From CNN's Eric Cheung

A shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine is unloaded from a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane at the Changi Airport in Singapore, on December 21.
A shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine is unloaded from a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane at the Changi Airport in Singapore, on December 21. Kua Chee Siong/The Straits Times/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Singapore will begin Covid-19 vaccinations on December 30, the Ministry of Health said in a statement Sunday.

Healthcare workers will be the first to receive vaccinations, while those aged 70 or above will be vaccinated starting in February next year, the ministry said.

All Singaporeans and long-term residents are expected to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, and the vaccination program will be free to ensure accessibility, it added. 

"Comprehensive vaccination coverage in the population will ensure that our population is protected from Covid-19," the statement read. "In the longer term, this will enable us to re-open further both as a society and economy, and expedite our recovery from the pandemic."

On December 14, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the country approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for public use. The first shipment of the vaccine arrived in the country on December 21.

10:24 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

South Africa tops 1 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Sharif Paget and Jennifer Hauser

A Dis-Chem Pharmacy health professional speaks to a woman before conducting a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing site at a mall in Centurion, South Africa, on December 16.
A Dis-Chem Pharmacy health professional speaks to a woman before conducting a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing site at a mall in Centurion, South Africa, on December 16. Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

South Africa registered 9,502 new cases of Covid-19 Saturday, pushing the total number of cases to 1,004,413 according to data from the country's health ministry.

There were also 214 more fatalities reported, leaving the total death toll at 26,735.

South Africa has the highest total number of reported cases in Africa, according to data from Africa CDC. More than 2.6 million cases have been reported across the continent. 

Earlier this week a new coronavirus variant was reported in South Africa, which is different than the strain causing so much concern in the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove, said Monday.

CNN is tracking worldwide cases: