Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2020

This article documents the chronology of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2020, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Some developments may become known or fully understood only in retrospect. Reporting on this pandemic began in December 2019.

Reactions and measures in Africa

18 December

  • South African health authorities have reported the detection of a new COVID-19 variant known as the 501Y.V2 variant in the provinces of Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. This variant is similar to a British strain detected that same month, and both are considered to be more infectious than earlier strains.[1]

Reactions and measures in the Americas

3 December

10 December

  • Canada's health regulator Health Canada approves the use of PfizerBioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, stating that the vaccine met its "stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements". The Canadian Government has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing that the first batch of 249,000 are scheduled to arrive that month.[4]

11 December

19 December

Reactions and measures in the Eastern Mediterranean

5 December

  • Bahrain's National Health Regulatory Authority has approved the emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.[7]

Reactions and measures in Europe

2 December

  • The United Kingdom becomes the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for mass immunisation.[8]

8 December

  • 90 year old British woman Margaret Keenan becomes the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. 70 hospitals in the United Kingdom are preparing to deliver the vaccine this week.[9]

14 December

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel announces that Germany will enter into a "hard lockdown" during the Christmas period between 16 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 following a wave of infections and deaths. Under these new restrictions, a maximum of five people from no more than two households will be allowed to gather in homes. Between 24 and 26 December, this measure will be relaxed to allow one household to invite a maximum of four close family members from other households.[10]

16 December

  • The European Parliament gave its consent to the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 boosting health-programmes. It will keep an eye on how Next Generation EU funds are spent to better protect citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic.[11]

20 December

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled the relaxation of COVID-19 rules for England, Scotland and Wales during the Christmas holiday period and reintroduced Tier Four restrictions to London and parts of south-eastern England in response to rising cases that month.[12]

21 December

  • Several European Union countries including Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands have reimposed travel bans and restrictions on the United Kingdom in response to the emergence of a "more-infectious" and "out of control" COVID-19 variant.[13] Later that day, it was reported that 40 countries including several European Union member states, India, Russia, Jordan, Hong Kong, Israel, and Canada have placed travel bans on the United Kingdom.[14]

Reactions and measures in South and Southeast Asia

5 December

  • Malaysian Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has confirmed that Malaysia would allow unrestricted interstate travel across states and districts from 7 December with the exception of areas under an Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), which will still require a police permit.[15]

7 December

  • The Malaysian National Security Council has lifted the cap on the number of diners at restaurants in areas under the Conditional Movement Control Order including Kuala Lumpur.[16]

13 December

  • Malaysian Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah has announced that the quarantine period will be reduced from two weeks to 10 days for all travellers and close contacts of COVID-19 positive patients.[17]

19 December

  • Malaysian Health Minister Dr Adham Baba confirmed that the Malaysian Government would be signing an agreement with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase COVID-19 vaccines on 21 December.[18]

23 December

  • The Malaysian Health Ministry confirmed that it had identified a new COVID-19 strain dubbed the “A701B” strain, which is similar to a strain found in South Africa, Australia, and the Netherlands.[19]

24 December

  • Malaysian Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed that the National Security Council would enforce the compulsory screening of all foreign workers from 1 January 2021 so that action can be taken against employers who refuse to have their workers tested.[20]

Reactions and measures in the Western Pacific

11 December

  • Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that the state of Queensland will open its borders to New Zealand from 1 am the following day (12 December), exempting travelers from New Zealand from quarantine restrictions.[21]

12 December

14 December

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the New Zealand Cabinet plans to establish a quarantine free travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the move, describing it as the "first step" in normalising international travel.[23][24]

17 December

18 December

  • Australia's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has designated Sydney's Northern Beaches region a national COVID-19 hotspot following an outbreak resulting in 28 community transmissions.[26][27]
  • Queensland health authorities have imposed new border restrictions including a mandatory two-week quarantine period on anyone entering the state who had visited Sydney's Northern Beaches region.[28]

19 December

  • Western Australia has reinstated its hard border with New South Wales in response to an outbreak in Sydney's Northern Beaches region, no longer permitting travel from NSW without an exemption.[29]

20 December

  • Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian has imposed social gathering restrictions across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Central Coast areas including caps limit on social gatherings and restrictions on dancing and singing.[30]
  • New Zealand Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announces a six-month extension for employer-assisted work and working holiday visa holders along with their partners and children in order to address the country's labour shortage. In addition, the New Zealand Government will suspend a 12-month stand-down period for low-paid Essential Skills visa holders working in the country for three years until January 2022.[31][32]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ellyatt, Holly (6 January 2021). "Covid variant found in South Africa is worrying experts: Here's what we know so far". CNBC. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Among first acts as president, Joe Biden to call for 100 days of mask-wearing in US". 1 News. Associated Press. 4 December 2020. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  3. ^ Jaffe, Alexandra (3 December 2020). "Biden Says He Will Ask Americans to Wear Masks for 100 Days to Fight COVID-19 Spread". Time. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Covid: Canada latest country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine". BBC News. 10 December 2020. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Covid 19 coronavirus: US endorses Pfizer's vaccine". The New Zealand Herald. 11 December 2020. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  6. ^ Shabad, Rebecca (19 December 2020). "Pence receives Covid vaccine in televised appearance, hails 'medical miracle'". NBC News. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  7. ^ Elydf (5 December 2020). "Bahrain approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine use". The Star. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  8. ^ Boseley, Sarah; Halliday, Josh (2 December 2020). "UK approves Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for rollout next week". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 December 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Covid-19 vaccine: First person receives Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in UK". BBC News. 8 December 2020. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Coronavirus: Germany to go into lockdown over Christmas". BBC News. 14 December 2020. Archived from the original on 14 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Parliament approves seven-year EU budget 2021-2027". European Parliament. 16 December 2020. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Covid-19: Christmas rules tightened for England, Scotland and Wales". BBC News. 20 December 2020. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Covid: Nations impose UK travel bans over new variant". BBC News. 21 December 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Travel bans on UK expand due to concern over spread of new Covid-19 variant". Radio New Zealand. 22 December 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  15. ^ Tawie, Sulok (5 December 2020). "Sarawak allows spas, reflexology and wellness centres to reopen from tomorrow". Channel News Asia. Archived from the original on 6 December 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  16. ^ Tee, Kenneth (7 December 2020). "Govt lifts cap on number of diners per table in CMCO areas, including KL but one-metre distance still a must". Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  17. ^ Palansamy, Yiswaree (13 December 2020). "Health Ministry cuts quarantine for travellers, Covid-19 patients and close contacts from 14 days to 10". Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 13 December 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Dr Adham: Govt to seal vaccine purchase with AstraZeneca on Monday". Malay Mail. Bernama. 19 December 2020. Archived from the original on 19 December 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Malaysia identifies new Covid-19 strain, similar to one found in other countries". The Straits Times. 23 December 2020. Archived from the original on 23 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Govt to enforce compulsory COVID-19 screening for foreign workers from January 1". The Star. 24 December 2020. Archived from the original on 24 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Queensland will open its border to New Zealand tomorrow". 1 News. 11 December 2020. Archived from the original on 10 December 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Covid 19 coronavirus: Cook Islands, New Zealand travel bubble without quarantine from early next year". The New Zealand Herald. 12 December 2020. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  23. ^ Taylor, Phil; Remeikis, Amy (14 December 2020). "Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand and Australia to launch travel bubble in early 2021". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  24. ^ Galloway, Anthony (14 December 2020). "New Zealand travel bubble with Australia coming in early 2021, NZ PM confirms". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 14 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Govt secures another two Covid-19 vaccines, PM says every New Zealander will be able to be vaccinated". Radio New Zealand. 16 December 2020. Archived from the original on 16 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  26. ^ Slezak, Michael (18 December 2020). "Authorities concerned no patient zero found in Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  27. ^ Pearce, Lara (18 December 2020). "Sydney's Northern Beaches becomes first region to be declared a national COVID-19 hotspot". 9 News. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Queensland imposes new border restrictions after coronavirus cluster in Sydney's Northern Beaches". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 December 2020. Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  29. ^ Hamlyn, Charlotte; De Poloni, Gian (19 December 2020). "WA reinstates hard border with NSW due to Sydney coronavirus outbreak". ABC News. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  30. ^ Parkes-Hupton, Heath (20 December 2020). "Sydney cluster: 30 new cases recorded after northern beaches outbreak". News.com.au. News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  31. ^ Earley, Melanies (20 December 2020). "Covid-19: Visa changes mean many onshore migrants will be able to stay and work for longer". Stuff. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Migrant worker visas extended to address labour uncertainties". Radio New Zealand. 20 December 2020. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020.

Media files used on this page

Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2.png
Author/Creator: Alexey Solodovnikov (Idea, Producer, CG, Editor), Valeria Arkhipova (Scientific Сonsultant), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Scientifically accurate atomic model of the external structure of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a strain (genetic variant) of the coronavirus that caused Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan, China, during December 2019

Each separate locus (amorphous blob) is an atom of:

  cobalt: membrane
  crimson: E protein
  green: M protein
  orange: glucose (glycan)
  turquoise : S (spike) glycoprotein
SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors