George Russell in Hong Kong
The Philippines on Tuesday added the Czech Republic to its list of countries from where arrivals are temporarily banned.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said foreign passengers who have been in the Czech Republic in the previous 14 days cannot enter from January 28.
Foreign citizens arriving before then will be allowed to enter.
Filipino citizens will need to undergo quarantine and a polymerase chain reaction test will be administered on the fifth day.
More than 30 countries — mostly in Europe and Asia and including the UK, US, Japan, Canada and Australia — are on Manila’s ban list.
George Russell in Hong Kong
Hong Kong on Wednesday extended social distancing requirements for another week to February 3 as new cases continued to hover around 50 to 100 daily.
Under the restrictions, restaurants are required to cease dining-in operations from 6pm, though take-away food can be ordered until 10pm. Bars and clubs remain closed.
Tables can be occupied by no more than two people. Wearing a mask on public transit and in public places is mandatory.
“The Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong remains severe,” the Food and Health Bureau said in a statement.
Kiran Stacey in Washington
The US government is ordering an additional 200m doses of coronavirus vaccine for delivery during the summer as officials look to secure enough supply to make inoculation available to all Americans later this year.
The administration said on Tuesday it was exercising contractual rights with both Moderna and Pfizer to buy an additional 100m doses from each supplier.
That would take the total number of doses shipped or on order from 400m to 600m – enough to vaccinate 300m Americans.
Officials also said they would guarantee to supply states with at least 10m doses per week for the next three weeks, following complaints by state leaders that supplies have been too unpredictable.
One senior administration official said: “We are very eager to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible, so that science can turn the tide and get us back to normal.”
Joe Biden, the new president, has promised 100m vaccines in his first 100 days as US president, having criticised the slow pace of distribution under the previous Donald Trump administration.
Mr Biden said on Tuesday he expected the new doses to be available “by the end of summer, beginning of the fall”, adding that his administration’s target was ambitious.
“These steps are going to help increase our prospects of hitting – or exceeding, God willing – the ambitious goal of 100m shots in 100 days. But I also want to be clear, 100m shots and 100 days is not the endpoint, it’s just the start.”
Critics point out however that hitting this target would not require any increase in the pace of vaccinations, with around 1.25m doses currently being administered every day.
The new orders will not help hit that target, as they are intended for delivery later in the year. Officials would not give a deadline for their delivery.
Peter Wells in New York
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has found there is limited spread of coronavirus in schools, particularly when pandemic health and safety protocols are followed, but educators should consider curbing certain sports programmes to limit outbreaks that could jeopardise a school’s safe operation.
School-related cases of coronavirus have been reported as many institutions in some parts of the US reopened for in-person learning, “but there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission,” scientists at the CDC said in a report released on Tuesday.
Overseas, a study by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control came to a similar conclusion, that schools were not associated with accelerating community transmission.
Where there have been large outbreaks in schools, they have been associated with a lack of physical distancing, exemptions from mask use and poor ventilation.
Cross-country runners in El Dorado, California, compete on Monday in the first regional meet since the pandemic stopped high school sport
To avoid such problems, the report recommended that mitigation measures in schools “must continue”. These include universal face mask use, increasing physical distancing, using hybrid attendance models, increasing room ventilation and boosting testing.
The researchers said that numerous media reports of coronavirus outbreaks among US high school athletic teams suggested contact stemming from indoor practice, competition or associated social gatherings increased the risk of the virus’s spread.
The authors noted some schools, paradoxically, use fully online teaching but continue in-person sporting programmes. Some states have already halted or postponed school sporting programmes.
Singapore officials said on Tuesday they would set up a special testing operation after analysis linked three cases of the B.1.1.7 strain of coronavirus to a Changi Airport retail complex.
Epidemiological investigations revealed that two cases visited Jewel in Terminal 3 on December 31 and a third case was at the terminal on the same day.
Health workers will test Jewel staff who have been there since that day, and at the terminal’s shops and food establishments that are open to the public.
George Parker, Chris Giles and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe in London
The UK government’s preferred measure of coronavirus deaths exceeded 100,000 on Tuesday with another 1,631 deceased who had died within 28 days of a positive test.
The total, which is the highest in Europe on this measure, now stands at 100,162.
Office for National Statistics data showed the number of people who died by January 15 with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate was already 107,970.
The Financial Times’s estimate of excess UK deaths, based on updating the 98,998 excess since mid-March up to mid-January, now stands at 110,200.
On all of the measures, the UK has one of the highest death rates in the world and is the fifth country to pass 100,000 deaths, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.
Boris Johnson, prime minister, offered condolences, saying it was “hard to compute the sorrow” and that the country would ensure lessons had been learnt from the pandemic.
He said he took “full responsibility for everything the government has done” during the pandemic.
Ireland will compel people arriving in the country without a negative Covid-19 test to quarantine in a hotel for a fortnight, as the government sharpened travel curbs and extended a third lockdown until March 5. The move on Tuesday came despite signs that new infections are halving every 10 days.
Portugal has reported a record daily total of Covid-19 deaths as the country struggles to contain one of the world’s fastest-growing outbreaks of coronavirus. Health officials said 291 people died from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 11,012 in a country of 10.2m people.
Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, called for an international “new consensus” on economic policy in a virtual address to the Davos forum on Tuesday. He called for a policy that would not play down the role of the state and the public sector like the old “Washington consensus”, which favoured fiscal rectitude and privatisation.
Carlos Holmes, Colombia’s defence minister, died on Tuesday from complications related to coronavirus – the country’s highest-profile victim of the pandemic to date. Holmes, who was 69, fell ill in early January. As his situation deteriorated he was flown from Barranquilla to Bogotá’s military hospital.
A combination of two Eli Lilly antibody treatments – bamlanivimab and etesevimab – reduced hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 by 70 per cent, according to new data from its Phase 3 trial. The US drugmaker said that there were no deaths in the group taking the treatment, compared with 10 in the placebo group.
BioNTech is considering making some of its Covid-19 vaccines in China for the local rollout of the jab, which it developed in collaboration with US group Pfizer, according to Ryan Richardson, BioNTech's chief strategy officer. BioNTech and Shanghai-based Fosun agreed to supply China with 100m doses.
DR Horton lifted its full-year outlook after the US homebuilder generated stronger sales than forecast in the December quarter, benefiting from low mortgage rates and robust demand from Americans looking for more space. The Texas-based company sold 45 per cent more homes compared with the same period a year earlier.
GE ended a tumultuous year of lay-offs, debt repayments and restructuring with far stronger cash flows than forecast. Improving orders in GE’s energy division drove industrial free cash flow to almost $4.4bn in the fourth quarter, compared with a target of $2.5bn. Shares rose more than 7 per cent to $11.80 in pre-market trading.