Coronavirus LIVE Updates: India recorded 22,065 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest one-day figure in over five months, taking the total Covid caseload to over 99.06 lakh. The country also witnessed 354 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death count to 1,43,709. Over 94.22 lakh people in the country have recovered since the beginning of the pandemic. India, which reported its first case on January 30, is the second worst-hit country in the world by the pandemic after the United States.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus:
• The British capital faces tougher Covid-19 measures within days, the UK government said on Monday, with a new coronavirus variant emerging as a possible cause for rapidly rising infection rates. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said London, and parts of three surrounding counties, would move into the highest of three levels of restrictions in force across England from Wednesday. Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues will have to close, except for takeaway food, as will theatres and other venues in the entertainment sector. In some areas, cases are doubling every seven days, he said, warning: "It only takes a few doublings for the NHS (National Health Service) to be overwhelmed." London had already seen a "sharp rise" in daily cases and hospital admissions, and there is concern about the "new variant" of the coronavirus initially detected in southeast England, where cases are now rising the fastest, officials said.
• An intensive care unit nurse became the first person in the United States to receive the newly authorized Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, calling it a sign that "healing is coming" as the U.S. coronavirus death toll approaches 300,000. Sandra Lindsay, who has treated some of the sickest COVID-19 patients for months, was given the vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, an early epicenter of the country's COVID-19 outbreak, receiving applause on a livestream with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "It didn't feel any different from taking any other vaccine," Lindsay said. "I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe."
• Germany's decision to tighten a second coronavirus lockdown has increased the risk of another recession in Europe's largest economy, economists said on Monday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed on Sunday to shut most stores from Wednesday until at least January 10 to reverse a tide of COVID-19 infections that lighter restrictions introduced on November 2 have failed to tame. The German economy suffered its worst recession on record as the first wave of coronavirus infections pushed down gross domestic product by 1.7% in the first quarter and by an unprecedented 9.8% in the second quarter.
• Canada on Monday announced a Can$458 million ($380 million) aid package to help developing countries fight the coronavirus pandemic. Of that amount, Can$230 million will go to the UN children's agency UNICEF to buy approximately three million treatments based on new therapeutic antibodies, once clinical trials are complete and approvals received, according to international development minister Karina Gould.
• The pandemic need not deter Santa from travelling the world and handing out gifts this coming Christmas because he is immune to Covid-19, a World Health Organization official said Monday. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, WHO's lead on the crisis Maria Van Kerkhove told a press briefing she understood many children were worried how the virus could impact Father Christmas.