In an alarming sign, the US has reported more than 200,000 single-day coronavirus infections for the first time, following the Thanksgiving break.
Los Angeles County, which has been reporting over 4,500 daily infections for five days in a row, will halt all social gatherings for three weeks.
While Covid-19 continues to spread across the US, infecting over 13 million people, European countries have decided to start easing some of the curbs keeping in view the festive season.
The UK appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus. PM Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine programme in decades.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top emergencies expert said on Friday it would be “highly speculative” for the WHO to say the coronavirus did not emerge in China.
China is pushing a narrative that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in Wuhan, citing the presence of the virus on imported frozen food packaging and studies saying it had been circulating in Europe last year.
“I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” Mike Ryan said at a virtual briefing in Geneva. “It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he added.