Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
As always, I can be found on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
The first vaccine doses have arrived in South African, where president Cyril Ramaphosa hailed their arrival on Monday as a chance to “turn the tide” on a disease that has devastated the country.
Meanwhile the European Union tightened its rules for visitors from outside the bloc, specifying that they would only be allowed in freely from countries with very few coronavirus cases and almost none of the more transmissible variants.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- Denmark, which has been under a tough lockdown since December, will reopen schools for the youngest children from next week.
- South African nurses have called on the government to ensure rural healthcare workers are able to access Covid-19 vaccines as the hard-hit country received its first batch of doses.
- The UK has reported a further 18,607 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases – the lowest daily total of new cases since 15 December, when 18,450 cases were recorded.
- Women made up nearly all of Italy’s job losses in the month of December, when the country’s unemployment level rose to 9.0% from 8.8% in November, national statistics bureau ISTAT said on Monday.
- Austria has announced it will relax its coronavirus lockdown from Monday next week, moving to a nighttime curfew and allowing non-essential shops and schools reopen while toughening border restrictions.
- Greece reported 543 new coronavirus cases on Monday, with almost half found in the Attica region.
- Germany’s military will send more than 20 doctors and nurses to Portugal, where hospitals are close to being overwhelmed as the country reports the world’s biggest seven-day rolling average of new daily cases per capita.
- Palestinians will receive an initial batch of 50,000 coronavirus vaccines by mid-February, when inoculations will begin in the West Bank and Gaza, their prime minister has announced.
- The variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK now represents half of infections in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch health minister Hugo de Jonge.