New variant, first spotted in the UK, continues to spread, with Pakistan, India reporting cases among travellers.
Pakistan and India are the latest countries to report first cases of the new, highly contagious coronavirus variant detected in the UK.
At least three cases were detected in travellers from the UK who arrived in Pakistan.
India reported six people who travelled from the UK to be carrying the variant.
South Korea reported 40 new COVID deaths, a record daily toll, bringing the death tally to 859 as the country grapples with a third wave of infection centred around nursing homes and a prison in Seoul.
And South Africa further tightened COVID restrictions, banning alcohol sales and extending a nationwide curfew.
Globally, more than 81.18 million people reported to be infected by the virus and 1,773,003 have died so far.
Here are the latest updates:
Thailand warns of stricter measures if virus not contained
Thailand has warned that more intensive measures might be necessary to halt its worst coronavirus outbreak yet and urged the public to cooperate to contain a spread that has seen cases in most regions of the country.
Thailand has imposed tighter control measures in some areas, including on entertainment businesses, which will be reassessed in seven days, said COVID-19 taskforce spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin.
Iran launches human trials of its COVID vaccine
Iran has launched human trials of its coronavirus vaccine.
The start of the trials on Tuesday comes as Iran has managed to bring its COVID-19 fatalities down to a three-month low and as the country continues to face difficulties in importing sufficient quantities of vaccines due to US sanctions.
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Pakistan reports coronavirus variant cases
At least three cases of the coronavirus variant were detected in the southern port city of Karachi.
“Twelve samples of UK returnees were taken for genotyping out of which six were positive and three showed the new variant of the virus in the first phase,” the ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
“The genotyping showed 95 per cent match of the new variant from the UK. These samples will go through another phase of genotyping,” it added.
India finds six cases of variant as daily infections drop
All six patients have been kept in isolation, India’s health ministry said in a statement, adding that their fellow travellers were being tracked down.
“Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine,” the ministry said.
India has suspended all flights from the UK until the end of the month but some 33,000 passengers had flown in from late November, before the ban, the ministry said.
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Dozens of teachers die from the virus in South Africa
Local media, quoting education ministry spokesman Elijah Mhlanga, reported that at least 32 teachers have died of the virus in less than a week.
South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on the continent, with 1,004,413 cases and nearly 27,000 deaths.
It announced tighter restrictions once again to combat the increase in coronavirus infections driven by a faster-spreading new variant.
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Indonesia secures vaccine deals with Pfizer, AstraZeneca
Indonesia is finalising deals to secure 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.
Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the deal with AstraZeneca would be finalised before year-end, while an agreement would be signed in January.
Speaking at his first official news conference, the minister said 1.3 million front-line health workers would be prioritised in the vaccine drive.